Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hostile Daughters!

Cori (who has multiple violations for inappropriate content on her myspace page) was warned months ago that another f-word on her page and she would be permanently removed from myspace for the rest of the time she lived at my house. You guessed it. Her status last night included the phrase "I'm fucCing confused." Hello, Cori. I wasn't born yesterday and I'm really not stupid. You are off the computer until you move to your new house. She whined, "But that could be months..." No, really, it won't be months. At most it will be weeks, and I'm really hoping for "week." She's wishing me dead right now. I hope she doesn't follow through. In the meantime, I'm going to have some fun with her page. I'm going to make it all cute and girly. (It's currently dark and goth.) I'm also going to delete all her friends that she doesn't know in real life. Some may call it passive-aggressive. I think I've got to find my fun where I can!!!!

Beth, due to her recent, less than stellar performance in English, is grounded this weekend. No big deal, right? She is livid that I would dare to ground her. Mind you, it's ONE weekend. Not one month, or one year - we're talking 2 days here. In addition to the school troubles, her misuse of her cell phone continues, too. I now take possession of the phone until 7:00 PM when our free night minutes start. She has stalked around a lot of the evening. Refusing to speak a syllable to me. She's also probably plotting my death but I'm 99.99% sure she won't attempt to carry her plans out. She has much more power. She said she's going to go live with her "real mother" when she turns 18 this summer. Those words hurt so badly. I can't begin to imagine if she knows the power of those words, but I guess she does. She sure didn't hesitate to let them fly today. This is the mother who surrendered her parental rights rather than pay $50 a month child support. The mother who dumped her kids when a new boyfriend came along and didn't want her kids in the way. The woman who, literally, committed crimes against these kids. Sure, turn 18 and go check her out. Just keep practicing, "Do you want fries with that?" and learn to make change. Those are skills you are guaranteed to need in your life with her.

I had my discussion with Alli via text today. She texted me something and ended it with "I love you." Being snarky, I replied, "Then why the heck are you so mad at me all the time?" Her reply was, "It's not u. I just can't get myself together." I said, "It feels like it's me." And all she said was, "I promise it's not you." Our exchange ended there, as I had to work. We did have a few other pleasant conversations as the day went on. She picked us up from school and had me drop her at BW's house. (Side note: Today marked one month since the birth/death of Blair. I'm sure that is affecting her, too. But dang it, don't take it out on me!!!!)

Now, anyone want to trade houses/families with me for the weekend? I've seriously considered leaving them here to fend for themselves and checking myself into the Comfort Inn out by the interstate. I just need to be in a room for a while without the presence of people who claim to hate me. Am I asking too much???? Whether they believe it or not, I do have feelings and they've been stomping all over them lately.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


God took pity on me and sent just enough snow to give me the day off. Of course, it's 10:00 A.M. and there is no snow visible but I don't care. I'm home and it feels good.

It's quiet here right now. Alli's at the doctor. I managed to make both Beth and Cori mad within 30 minutes of them getting up and they are both back in their rooms. Darn. Beth is really pushing the rules lately with her cell. She's using way too many daytime minutes and texting without permission to do so. She was on the phone first thing this morning and when I reminded her it was daytime minutes she got right off but the next thing I knew she was texting. After I warned her about that, she and Elvis took off to her room. I have a feeling I'll have an extra cell phone within a week because I'm going to take hers. Cori made the mistake of asking what we were going to do today. I said, "You are going to clean your room and then clean the vomit from the tub." She, too, retreated to her room. She's not cleaning but I don't care. That just means she'll be in there that much longer. And right now, I'm enjoying the quiet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good grief! It's only Tuesday!

It really should be, at least, Thursday. I can't believe we've only had two week days so far this week. I'm exhausted.

I'm still sick. I don't know what I have. I'm congested and coughing. My throat is killing me. I'm a little wheezy. My mother insists I should stay home so I don't infect my class. Where does she think I got it??? They shared with me. I'll share with them. Seriously, I don't have a fever so I don't know that I'm contagious. I've missed so much with Alli and Blair that I hate to stay home. I had a few students out sick today and had a couple more who looked like they were about to drop so I may have an easy day or two with low attendance headed my way. I think I've earned them.

Even more, I think I've earned a snow day. It's cold with snow flurries here right now. They don't think it will stick but I'm hopeful. There's no better way to break up the week than to have Wednesday off.

Beth's English teacher called me at school Monday. (Yes, the same one that called me last Thursday.) Yes, she completed 3 missing assignments over the weekend and turned them in but, she was still missing an 800-word research paper. She hadn't even turned in her notes and source cards. And, he'd given them 5 days to work on them in class. She'd talked those days instead of working, of course. I just don't know where that girl's head is most days. If she turns in the paper by this Friday (TWO FULL WEEKS AFTER THE DUE DATE) he'll give her some credit and she might pass. If she doesn't turn the paper in, she will not pass. This attitude stumps me. How in the world will she make it in the real world? Maybe I'd better start having her practice saying, "Do you want fries with that?" because at this rate, she's going to saying it for the next 40 years.

Things are getting tense again with Alli. so tense that I can't even blog about it because it hurts my feelings so much. I went to counseling again tonight, in hopes she can help me get my thoughts together. I think I'm leaning towards asking her to move. She's using me. It's got to stop, one way or another. The counselor is going to meet with Alli and me together, hoping to help us talk through some of our...issues. She agrees that it will probably end with Alli moving. It will hurt horribly when it happens but there is the promise of relief in the future. I hope that will help.

Gee, my life may look totally different in a few months. Cori should be gone in a few weeks. Alli and Elvis might well take off in the same time-frame. Beth turns 18 in June and very well could take off at that point. My dog is dying. I could be alone in my house when school starts back in the fall. At this point, I think I'm okay with that.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekend wrap up

~ I'm still sick. I'd hoped that I'd magically be healed by NyQuil and the absence of kindergarten children this weekend. Guess not.

~ Alli has managed to dump Elvis on me or Beth whenever possible this weekend. This gets old. She wanted someone to keep him all day yesterday but no one would. I offered to keep him from 6-10. She readily accepted but didn't get home until 10:30 and that was after I'd texted her 3 times. I don't see myself offering even that in the future. She offered to pay Beth to keep him "for a few hours" today. Therein lies the problem. There is no concrete definition of of that time. Alli's been gone since noon and it's almost 6:00. Beth is ready to be Elvis-free and I have to agree that a few hours is less than 6.

~ Cori continues to work my nerves. We're all busy around here but her. She sits and eats and posts vulgar things on her myspace page. That is the extent of her existence around here. She keeps asking what she can do to help but then does it half-way, if at all. Most of the time, she's just in the way. I've stopped asking her to do much because it just aggravates me further. I don't need any extra aggravation from her. She offers enough just by being here. She vomited again after lunch today. Within 30 minutes she was digging in the fridge looking for something else to eat. She's not physically sick. I really think it's just one more way to annoy me so I ignore it if I can at all.

~ With the exception of a 12 inch by 12 inch strip of wallpaper over the fridge, our kitchen is wallpaper-free. The old wallpaper paste, however, still thickly coats the walls. It is taking forever to scrub that stuff off. I have to, though, because the painted surface will be rough if I don't. (Beth is currently working on removing that last 12 inches of wallpaper because if I had to do it, I really might go crazy!)

~ Replacing the squishy sub floor in Alli's bathroom has turned into a full-fledged bathroom makeover. Since the shower stall had to come out to repair the floor under it, we might as well replace the harvest gold shower, right? Since the shower stall is bigger than the doorway, we have to cut a hole in the wall between the bathroom and the laundry room, right? Since we are already cutting that hole, and since there is plenty of extra room, we might as well replace that shower stall with a full size tub/shower combo, right? You get the picture. We've gone from getting new sub flooring and vinyl to reconfiguring the whole bathroom and also getting a new toilet, vanity, counter top, and tub.

Not enough common sense to make change for a dollar

Our school system has adopted a new dress code for next year. They aren't calling it a uniform. It's "standard school attire." In it's first form, it outlawed jeans but they watered it down before approving it and now the kids can wear jeans. Shirts have to be solid colored and have buttons (polo or dress shirts). The kicker for the kids is that the shirts have to be tucked in and belts must be worn. I understand that this isn't "cool" but it's required so deal with it.

These words actually came out of Beth's mouth last night when discussing the new dress code with me and her best friend:

"I may not go back to school next year because I don't want to tuck my shirt in."

I can only imagine what my face looked like when she said this. I can't believe she is willing to go through life without a high school education just because she doesn't want to tuck in her shirt. Let's see...174 days of tucking in your shirt or 40 YEARS of working at a fast food restaurant because you have no diploma? Is that really a difficult decision? To top it off, this kid will wear a hoodie over the tucked in shirt about 150 of those days. She's always cold and has a collection of hoodies bought from the school with the logo on them. (From what we can tell, unaltered school-sponsored shirts are still allowed.)

All she hears and processes is "they are making me tuck my shirt in." She isn't able to see the big picture and what this will mean for her down the road. She turns 18 over the summer. She will have that choice. That scares me!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A few quick updates

~ Alli has called her work and is back on the schedule starting the first week of March.

~ Cori announced kind of casually that her case worker told her they were doing a "selection" for her next week. This is when they choose her next family. It's time, people, hurry up and select.

~ The kitchen wallpaper is almost all down. Now we just have to wash the walls and prime before we start painting.

~ I'm almost done with the Gilmore Girls. I have one and a half episodes left to watch in season 7. I hope it ends like I want it to. If it doesn't I'm probably going to be very angry.

~ Beth is dying her hair today between wallpaper scraping and making up missing English assignments. She was desperate enough to dye it that she drove us to the store to buy the dye. (She's not much for driving.) She claims it's medium brown but it looks more like dark brown. I hate that she covers her pretty blond hair, but it's her choice. (Ironically, Alli has medium brown hair and keeps it blond.)

~ The repair/remodel of Alli's bathroom is getting way more complicated than I hoped. It will look good when it's done but I hate dealing with all the decisions and the alcoholic handy man.

~ The NyQuil worked. I slept most of last night and even into mid-morning. I'm planning a repeat performance tonight.

Friday, February 22, 2008


That would be "Thank God it's Friday" and "Thank God for NyQuil." I'm so glad this week is over. I didn't think today, in particular, would ever end. I was up all last night, coughing and blowing my nose. I literally saw every hour on the clock. That, of course, made for one cranky kindergarten teacher today. Add to that the fact that it was rainy and we couldn't have recess, and things get worse. To top it off, our principal has banned the use of TV during school hours and I really just had too much time with 5 year olds. (Usually on rainy day recesses, we watch a favorite dances video and dance along. Nothing like doing the Limbo and the Bunny Hop with a bunch of little ones to give you a giggle.) Thanks to Principal Hitler, I was giggle-less today. Ok, I did have one giggle today. The K kids line up in the halls by groups. Car riders from all classes line up together. All bus riders line up together, etc. As I was getting my kids lined up in my room, I heard the teacher across the hall correcting one of her students. She was telling him in a stern voice that "it is not okay to run down the hall and slide into the bus line on your belly like the penguins do." At the end of a loooooong day, this was incredibly funny to me - but only because it was not me having to say that to one of my students.

So, on the way home, I ran into a store and bought a bottle of liquid know the stuff that's 10% alcohol. I haven't had the stuff in years. I bet I haven't taken it since college. I hate the taste of it and the hangover I have the next day. (I'm so not a drinker.) But, I've GOT to sleep tonight or I'm gonna kill someone. Cori would be the most likely victim.

Cori is continuing her one-woman crusade to make me lose my mind. She's been working on a project for school. I've been hearing about it for about 3 weeks. Her partner came over Sunday and they completed their display board. I thought all was well. Cori announced last night about 7:00 that she had to have dress pants to wear today for the presentation. She doesn't take care of the clothes she has. Why would I buy her anything else? Especially since she'd only wear it this one time. She had suitable clothing. I refused. She stomped and pouted but gave it up. About 8:30, she announced she had to have a pink tablecloth. We don't have one. She says, "Then you'll have to go buy me one." Um, no I don't. I was in jammies and ready for a couple episodes of the Gilmore Girls and then to cough my head off in bed. I certainly was not going to get dressed and go shopping at that point. More stomping and pouting from her but I just didn't care anymore. I just don't know what's going to happen with that girl.

Boy Wonder has been off work all this week. He's been sick but not for the whole week. He and Alli are going to have to get back into the real world. I plan on telling her that she needs to call her job this weekend and get back on the schedule to work the first week of March - even if it's just one or two nights that first week. She's done nothing in the last few weeks. It's time for her be doing something functional.

Beth is pushing her limits these days, too. She has a new best friend and a new boyfriend. Whenever that happens, she goes a little nuts. She's all about having fun and not so much interested in following rules. She's responding okay to the consequences for her actions, though. She admitted she knew she'd done the wrong things recently and didn't gripe when punished. Accepting responsibility for your actions - what a novel concept. She did get to go out for a few hours tonight but she's with me the rest of the weekend. Her English teacher called to tell me she's missing some assignments and failing as a result. She's brought the assignments and book home this weekend and she's going to finish them up and scrape the wallpaper that's still above the cabinets.

The week had ended and the box of Blair clothes is still unopened. It's just not time yet. I'm good with that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

3 weeks

It's been 3 weeks since Blair was born and died. We still have a few things unfinished in regards to her. First, she's in need of a grave marker. The funeral home was awesome and did the service and burial for their costs, I'm sure. I kept thinking how nice that was of them to do all that for so little money. Now I know why - They stick it to you with the grave marker. They loan you the use of a temporary grave marker for 21 days. After that, they remove it and tell you if you want her grave marker, you have to buy a marker from their nifty little catalog. The cheapest (and ugliest) marker in there is $1,100! It's like a used car pitch. They see these young parents and play on their emotions. "You don't want her to have a grave without a marker, do you?" I know it's a business and they are there to make money but for the grave marker to cost more than twice the cost of the whole funeral and burial seems a bit much. The temporary marker will be removed on Wednesday and it's killing Alli to think about her there without a marker.

The other thing I need to deal with is this box. I had resisted the urge to buy the pink, frilly clothes I'd been waiting years to buy...until 2 days before Alli went into the hospital. I'd caved and ordered several cute little girl summer outfits in various sizes. The box was delivered on the day of her funeral. In fact, we came home from the funeral to find it sitting on our door step. The box has just been sitting in my room. I thought about just marking it "Refused. Return to sender" and sending it back. However, there are a couple of things in there that weren't for Blair. There is a teether for Elvis and a Root-View growing kit for my classroom in there. My mom then offered to open it, give me the non-Blair items, and return the rest but that doesn't seem right, either. I bought them for Blair. They are Blair's. My plan for this week is to open that box. For what ever reason, I feel like I need to do it. I don't know what I'll do with the clothes. Perhaps as time heals us a little, I can pass them on to a friend's baby or even donate to our Crisis Pregnancy Center. Or maybe they'll still be hanging in the back of my closet when I'm dead and gone.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Drama Queen

Cori got up this morning and staggered to the bathroom in the hall. I was sitting on my bed reading, so I had a front row seat for the performance. As she passed my door, she glanced in to look at my clock to check the time. She started screaming in a horrible squeaky voice, almost so high-pitched that only dogs and rats can hear, "I can't see! I'm blind! I'll never see again! I'm blind! I can't see!" and drops to her knees. After a full 30-45 seconds of this, she reaches up, brushes her hair from her face and says, "Oh, never mind. My hair was just in my eyes." She then continued on her journey to the bathroom. *insert eye roll here*

Saturday, February 16, 2008

More pancake experimentation

Thanks, Tudu. We had banana/chocolate chip pancakes this morning. Lacking a recipe, I just added two mashed bananas and a cup of milk chocolate chips to the pancake recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. YUM! I made another batch of regular pancakes with Kissables in them, too. There were some of them left over. The banana/chocolate chip batch is gone. You were right - no syrup needed.

We've had a nice boring Saturday, so far. Everyone slept in and ate pancakes. I dropped Alli and Elvis at Boy Wonder's house. Alli and Beth's bio cousin (known in our family as "Cousin It") called and didn't have a ride to work. I love this kid and will do anything for her so I took off and hauled her a long way to her job at the new Cracker Barrel at the other end of the county. I didn't mind a bit. Alli called and she and BW wanted to go to shop at a nearby mall. Elvis' wheelchair won't fit in BW's car. Alli's car is still in the shop. Long story short, I ended up with Elvis for the afternoon. In between all this, I'm scoring and spraying the hideous teal wallpaper in the kitchen. It is coming's just coming slowly. I'm not quite half way done with the eating area. Beth and her friend (who has been here since Tuesday night) are watching Elvis for me. They'd rather do that than help with the wallpaper mess. They are also planning to ask to go out tonight and hoping to earn brownie points by looking helpful. Whatever.

Cori was supposed to go to her bio grandmother's today. I don't know the exact reason but that was canceled by the grandmother. That makes me sad. I was really looking forward to a day without her. She's not a huge problem. I just get tired of her always being here and doing nothing appropriate. It's so past time for her to go. She's been grounded since December. The grounding limited her to a total of 30 minutes of phone/computer usage a day until she brought home a progress report from school with all passing grades and a good behavior report. She brought home a great progress report a couple of weeks ago. The dress code violations, however, we interpreted to be bad behavior - rightly so. At that point, she lost ALL phone/computer usage (except supervised usage for homework and calls to bio family) for two weeks. Her two weeks will be up Monday and she's chomping at the bit to be back online and back on the phone. Sadly, I'm just chomping at the bit to turn her bedroom into a spare room. I have never been to this point with a child.

My Gilmore Girl watching has been stalled. I finished season 6 yesterday morning. Season 7 has been ordered but won't arrive until Tuesday...the day I go back to work. It's probably good that I'm forced to have this break. Season 7 is the final season. I've got to find something productive to do with that time I've been wasting. I don't regret wasting that time. It's been a nice distraction and I needed that. However, it's time to get back into the real world and get some stuff done. I feel so much better just having started the kitchen project!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Still enjoying our time off school

It's hard to believe today is just Friday. We've been out of school since Tuesday afternoon. We actually got a little snow/ice Wednesday morning and schools probably would have been closed anyway. It doesn't take much here because we have almost no equipment to clear snowy roads. It feels like we have been out forever and we still have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off before we go back. It's like an extended holiday and I love it!

We didn't get much done here yesterday. Alli and I took Elvis to his appointments. Beth and Cori helped my mom clean her house a bit while we were gone. After that, we came home and chilled until time for Cori's psychiatrist appointment. That appointment is an hour away and I refuse to take her to those appointments now. There are plenty of decent providers here in our town. I don't have time to run all over the countryside for low-quailty care. The doctor she sees is crazy. Anyway, her worker has to take her. She picked her up from the house and I met them on the interstate afterwards to save the worker a little driving. She has a fiance and I'm sure they had plans for Valentine's night that didn't involve running up and down the interstate with Cori. The worker did seem properly appreciative that I met them there.

The worker and I had a long phone conversation earlier that day. I told her I'm ready for Cori to move on. She said Cori told her she's ready to go, too. They have one homestudy submitted on her that looks promising. It's out of state but Cori just might agree at this point. If she wants out of here badly enough and that's her only option, she just might agree.

Beth went with her new boyfriend to ride four-wheelers for their Valentine's celebration. Not my idea of romantic but she had a good time. Alli and Boy Wonder went to his house for spaghetti with his mom and to watch the Simpsons movie. Again, interesting choice for Valentine's, but I guess since I spent the evening with Elvis, I can't say much. After Cori's appointment, we stopped by my mom's for potato soup and cornbread. It was great (even better because I didn't have to cook it).

Today we actually started working on our kitchen re-do. We are stripping the ugly teal floral wallpaper. It played a nasty trick on us, though. The first 3 strips peeled off easily with just out fingers. After that, the rest seemed to be stuck on with super glue. We went and bought the Paper Tiger and the spray-on wallpaper remover. They are helping some but the work is slow and tedious. If I was independently wealthy, I'd be hiring someone for all this crap. But, I'm a poor teacher so we'll trudge along removing the paper piece-by-dime-sized-piece and hope I don't have to kill one of the kids along the way. They should know by now to either help me or stay out of my way.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I always get my kids a little something for Valentine's Day. It's usually a little gift bag with some candy and a generic gift in it. It's never anything substantial but it's usually fun. This year, everyone is getting the same candy selections and matching bags. The gifts are different this year. Alli is getting a gift certificate for our local movie theater. Beth is getting the new Neutrogena Wave (some electronic device to wash your face). Cori is getting an iTunes gift card. Elvis is getting a Little Einsteins DVD. I even have a bag for Boy Wonder and he's getting a Pizza Hut gift card in his. Materialism at it's best, folks! I'm happy to do my part. (Of course this makes me a little sad as I'm not fixing a bag for Baby Blair. When I started thinking about Valentines several weeks ago, she was included. Now she's not.)

Of course, as usual, I've screwed a couple of things up. I didn't get to the theater in time to buy Alli's gift certificate. They close the ticket area early and I just couldn't get it together in time to get there. I'll give her an IOU and pick it up tomorrow. I bought one of those singing cards to send my mom. She lives here in town but mail is fun, even at 70, I assume. However, I forgot to mail the card. It's stamped, addressed, and ready to go. I stressed a lot over the exact time to mail it. I wanted to arrive ON Valentine's Day. I needed to mail it after 5:00 PM Tuesday but before 5:00 today. You guessed it - I thought about it at 6:30 tonight. I'll probably just hand deliver it tomorrow, totally blowing all that time I spent deciding when it should be mailed.

My first day off went well. The pancakes with M&Ms and Reese's Pieces weren't the best but they were okay. (We all prefer the ones from a few weeks back that we made with Kissables.) Today's were good enough to eat, though, and all were consumed except the one that is left on the back of the stove right now. I guess the dog will have it for breakfast tomorrow. Boy Wonder took Elvis to his house to watch him play video games. I enjoyed having a little time with Alli without Elvis or BW around. Beth and her friend spent the day talking and giggling. Cori spent the day alternating between sulking and working on a school project. I talked to the girls some and watched the Gilmore Girls some. We ordered Chinese take-out for lunch from the same restaurant we ate at last night. This meal officially finished off our gift certificate for that restaurant. (Cori did NOT have Chinese for lunch. She had to make do with Burger King.) After lunch, I dropped Alli off at BW's house and they went to visit his sister. Beth had counseling this afternoon but spent the evening running around with her friend. Cori and I made a quick trip to Walgreen's tonight. She needed glitter for her project and I needed laundry detergent.

Now, I'm headed to bed. I'm dropping Cori and Beth off at my mom's tomorrow morning and going with Alli to take Elvis to therapy. Mom still has her Christmas tree up and she's having company this weekend. The girls will help her put up the Christmas decorations and get the house ready for visitors. (We can't have anyone outside the family know that she still has her tree up, evidently.)

Oh, and Blogger....

Thanks so much for repeatedly telling me that we can now be translated into a half-bazillion languages that are probably spoken/read by about 12 people total in the whole world. I'm glad we have that ability - Really, I am. I'd be much happier, though, if you'd fix the problem with the Spell Check button here in the English language. I'm sure these people are tired of reading my typos.

Joy - I'd forgotten what it felt like!

Our school system has been having a lot of absences - both teachers and students - due to illnesses. We must have hit the magic number yesterday (just over 11%, according to the local paper) because the Director of Schools shut us down until next Tuesday. We don't have to make these days up because they come from our snow days. (A few years back, our system added 30 minutes to each school day. Adding this time gives us 13 days to use at the director's discretion. He sets 7 of those aside as designated snow days. The others are used for teacher training and various other ways to torture us.) Since adding the snow days, I don't know that we have ever used all 7 snow days. If we don't use them, we just work that many extra days. The last 2 or 3 years, we've gotten two illness days each. This is the first time ever we've used 3 illness days. When you add the previously scheduled Monday holiday for Presidents' Day, we've got a good break! (And, oh yeah, to all the families in my county dealing with sick kids, thanks, and I hope you get well soon!)

When our assistant principal made this announcement yesterday afternoon, you'd have thought we all (the teachers) won the lottery. There was dancing in the halls! I was so excited. Having these days off is wonderful. I am slowly getting back into the swing of things but it's still hard sometimes. I need these days! I'd forgotten what "happy" felt like and appreciated being reminded!

We went out to eat Chinese with my teacher-neighbor and her family last night. We have a favorite restaurant and just happened to have a gift certificate for there. You'll remember that Cori has vomiting issues that involve Chinese food, so I gave her the option of staying home and we'd bring her home fast food or going with us if she would promise not to puke. She opted to go with us and, at least, didn't throw up in the restaurant. She did when we got home, though. I really think it was purposeful. I didn't address the puking at all. I never said a word to her about it. She was trying to get me to get angry with her and I refused to give her that power. After throwing up and repeatedly telling me about it, which she knows pisses me off, she dared to challenge her recent grounding for dress code violations. Again, she was just trying to make me angry. I didn't cave and engage in the fight she so obviously wanted. I wasn't going to let her ruin my new-found happiness over my free days off. (This is the LAST time she'll have a choice to eat Chinese at my house. I'll leave her at home next time!)

Today is going to be all about things that make me happy. I have promised the kids to make pancakes for breakfast. I'll need to make a lot since Beth had a friend spend the night and Boy Wonder (off work due to the weather) came over early when he heard there were pancakes involved. I don't mind that. We've been experimenting with adding things to them. Last time I made chocolate chip pancakes and Cori was so impressed that I had a recipe for that. LOL - what recipe? I used Bisquick and threw in a handful of chips! I didn't let on that it was that simple, though. I just let her think I slaved long and hard over a hot stove. Today's variation involves M&Ms and Reese's Pieces. I don't see how they can be bad. After the pancakes, I'm headed back to bed to watch a few (or a few dozen, maybe) episodes of the Gilmore Girls. My fascination with this show continues. I'm on disc one of season 6. There are only 7 seasons so I'm about done. If you know me in real life and have ever had a desire to watch all 7 seasons of the Gilmore Girls, let me know. I own them all!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best myspace comment EVER:

"You're the best momma ever. I love you "

That's from Alli. It was on my page when I got home from work on Friday. After the horrors of the last two weeks (and the struggles with her from the last several months), this makes my day! I realize to most people, this is nothing but coming from her, it says a lot. And, it says a lot that I needed to hear from her. People who haven't fostered or adopted older kids won't get it. Those who have, will.

Thanks, Alli, and in case you didn't notice, I love you, too!!!!

A new week

Well, we survived the first week back to "normal" life. Tomorrow will be the two-week anniversary of Baby Blair's death. There should be no more "firsts." I've worked a week. Boy Wonder is back at work. Alli has been out in the real world a few times. Overall, she's looking and feeling much better. She brought Elvis to my school to join my class in a fun art project. She took him to his therapy appointments and that went well. She's getting ready to go back to work. I don't want to jinx us and I know there will still be rough days ahead, but I do feel like we are on an upswing right now. I'm so glad!

There are a few difficult things I still have to deal with. I'm calling Cori's case worker tomorrow and giving her my 10-day notice that I need her moved. She's a scary, scary child and I'm uncomfortable having her here. I don't even want to see her any more. She needs to be somewhere else. I feel so guilty for feeling this way but I've got all I can handle. I just can't keep dealing with her bizarre thoughts and actions. It's all I can do to hold myself together some days. Every time I think I'm moving in the right direction, she pulls another attention-getting stunt. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

I also think I'm putting my foster home on-hold. Right now, I'd say I'm done fostering altogether. However, in a year, Beth will be graduating from high school and likely moving on. How can I say now that I wouldn't want to foster again in the future? Also, I'd like to keep my license current because if some of my former foster kids came back into custody (or more likely, the kids of my former foster kids come into custody) I might want to take them. I'd like to at least be contacted about them so I could decide. I'm planning to discuss my options with my licensing worker but I think I can do all the requirements to keep my license valid (complete training, submit paperwork, 1 licensing home visit) and just not accept any placements for a few months to a year.

As time and money allow, we're moving forward with some home improvment/remodeling projects. The list, so far, includes:

~ Turning Alli's room/a storage room/an unused dark room into a separate apartment. That end of the house is plenty big and has it's own entrance. Alli might want to rent it or, if she moves out with BW, I can rent it to someone else. The bathroom floor needs to be replaced due to a plumbing leak. I've got someone to work on it and he plans to start late next week or the week after. Other than the floor repair, it's just a matter of getting rid of clutter and junk.
~ Beth is taking an interior design class at school and wants to redecorate our kitchen. I have to agree it's one of the ugliest kitchens I've ever seen. It's just like it was when I bought the house almost 8 years ago - hideous teal floral wallpaper and even more hideous blue berber carpet. Why in the world someone would put any carpet in the kitchen is beyond me. (That blue berber was actually running through most of the house when I bought it. I've replaced it everywhere else. The time has come for the kitchen to be berber-free, too.) She wants to paint the walls yellow and the cabinets white. I think we can do that.
~ Updating a few plumbing fixtures. I swear most of the faucets were the ones installed when the house was built 41 years ago. They are forever needing washers replaced. I think it's time to upgrade to the washerless version and make my life a little less complicated. The faucet handle in the hall bathroom actually broke off a few weeks ago. The shower in that bathroom already doesn't work (zero water pressure). It's kind of like camping. I'm tired of feeling like we are roughing it. I don't think running water in all bathrooms is too much to ask. It is 2008, after all!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Doctor visit - DONE

Alli went back to her OB today for a check up. The waiting room time was really painful. We walked in and it was crowded and smelled of cigarette smoke and unwashed bodies. To make it worse, the only seats empty were beside a woman who had her 4 month old daughter with her. I realized I was tearing up at the same moment I saw a tear drop from Alli's face to her shirt. We sat close together, with my arm across her back for a while. She went to the bathroom to compose herself. She was better when she came back. The doctor was at the hospital, delivering, I guess and the receptionist kept offering to reschedule anyone's appointment. We declined as we wanted this over. It was so hard sitting there, seeing a pregnant woman or a baby in every direction we looked. We held it together and discussed odd things, trying to ignore the world around us.

We finally got to the back office over an hour after the appointment time. I'm guessing he hadn't read her records because he kept asking her when/how things happened. The appointment itself was nothing. There was no exam or tests. Alli's blood pressure was high but this was the first time ever, so they weren't concerned. She's lost almost 20 pounds since her last appointment in January. She goes back in 3 weeks for the follow up exam and that when he wants to discuss birth control options. She says she doesn't want another baby right now and I'm so glad to hear that. We've discussed that having another baby soon won't replace Blair. 2008 should be Blair's year. Hopefully, Alli can find something she wants to do and get the necessary training. Her being gainfully employed before the next preganancy sounds good to me.

After the appointment, I dropped her off at Boy Wonder's house. BW was watching Elvis while we were at the doctor's. I'm still feeling better about BW. He's a little more at ease with me now. I think he's just painfully shy and unsure of himself in social settings. He is trying. I've been really impressed with the way he has handled things during the last couple of weeks. I find myself hoping at times that they can make this relationship work. Nothing like a little tragedy to bring people together. Maybe that was Blair's purpose?

Monday, February 4, 2008

I survived Monday!

And it wasn't too bad. School went okay. The teachers on my hall all seemed to know what had happened. Teachers on other halls seemed to think I'd been sick. I let them go on believing that. I got a few "I'm so sorrys" and a few "I'm praying for yous" but they were from people I like and who I believe are sincere.

My students were thrilled to have me back. I missed seven days of school. I've never done that in 13 years of teaching. (I don't regret taking that time off, though, because I needed it.) We quickly got back into our routine and the day went well. They were more inquisitive about my absences than I expected. I really thought I could just say my daughter was sick and in the hospital and they'd be fine. Instead, they wanted to know what she had. I just brushed them off as best I could because I couldn't answer them truthfully.

I'm working again tomorrow and then I'm off on Wednesday to go with Alli to her check up. I'm not sending her into that office full of pregnant women alone. And, I have some questions for the doctor - about things like birth control, that I want to hear the answers to. She also had an abnormal pap smear at the beginning of the pregnancy. I want to know about the follow up for that, too. After the doctor visit, I'm hoping we can have a little fun. Maybe Chinese food for lunch and an afternoon movie before rounding up the others from school.

Cori had been in school less than two hours today before her assistant principal was calling me. She'd violated dress code by wearing her nose ring to class. She's had that since she came back to me. She's never worn it to school before last week. She just can't handle the drama not being about her and is pushing every limit. Time is quickly coming for her to move on.

I didn't make it to the funeral home for the 18 year old sister of my former students. I pulled into the funeral home driveway twice this afternoon but just couldn't go in. It's too soon to be anywhere near another dead child. I'll send a nice note to the little ones and let it be. That is the best I can do this week. I hope they will understand. Under normal circumstances, I'd have been the first one through the door this afternoon. My life is anything but normal circumstances right now.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Watching the clock

Since the sad events of recent days, I've developed a new way of marking time. Until this Wednesday, I kept thinking, this time last week, my life was normal. Since Wednesday, I keep thinking, this time last week, Blair was still in Alli where she belonged.

Now, we are approaching the 1 week anniversary of her birth and death. This time last week, Alli's water had broken but Blair still had plenty of fluid and, as far as we knew, was still floating happily up high away from the cervix. The doctor had told us that once the water breaks, half the babies are delivered within a week. The other half, however, managed to hang out ond mature to varying levels of development before delivery. We were busy trying to convince ourselves that we would be in the "lucky half" and keep her in. This time last week, Alli, Boy Wonder, and I were settled in the hospital room so far from home but happy to be there, hoping they could work a miracle and keep the little lady in Alli's womb.

When I go to bed tonight, I'll be saying, this time last week, Alli was still pregnant, having bladder spasms but not contractions. This time last week, we still had hope.

When I wake up in the morning, I'll be all out of good "this time last weeks." When I get up to get ready for work, I'll be saying, this time last week, my granddaughter was dead.

I'm both looking forward to and dreading going back to work. It will be nice to be back in a routine. A busy routine that will mercifully help keep my mind off the difficult days we've endured. There's not much time to grieve when you are surrounded by 19 five year olds who have really missed their teacher and are glad to have her back. Even though they have no idea of what's gone on with me since we were last together, they know their worlds were rocked by my absence. They, too, thrive on and need the routine that we share. Tomorrow will be good for me and them. What I dread are the well-meaning adults who will look at me with a hint of sorrow in their eyes. Or pat me on the back and tell me how sorry they are. Because that makes me cry. And I can't cry at school. That would devestate my students. They are too young to understand. Teachers are teachers. We aren't human. We don't have feelings. I bet most of them don't even believe I sleep or have a home other than the classroom.

To further complicate my first day back, Alli just texted me that the older sister of two of my former students was killed in a car wreck last night. These are two of my very favorite former students. Visitation with the family is tomorrow night and I need to go. The siblings I taught are in 2nd and 4th grade and have already lost their dad. Now, their older sister has died, too. However, I'm not sure I can. I just looked at her obituary and it is on the same page as Baby Blair's. I went to the site, looking only for the teen's obit and then found myself seeing my granddaughter's name right below hers. I guess I'll start the day planning to go to her visitation and then evaluate my ability to go at the end of the school day.

Come on, Monday. I'm ready! I need to get you over with. Surviving the first day back will be a good indicator of how the rest of my week will go.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Two grandmothers, one chair

Baby Blair's funeral was just as wrenching as expected. Seeing a coffin that tiny is hard on everyone. Alli's bio family turned out in force, causing an unexpected complication.

The service was graveside. It was 40 degrees so the funeral home had set up a tent with a heater. There were three rows of seats. Alli and Boy Wonder sat in the middle of the front row. Beside him sat his mother and his youngest brother. Beside Alli sat her youngest brother and an empty chair. The chair was empty because no one knew who should sit there - me or bio mom. Talk about awkward! In an odd show of solidarity, bio mom and I ended up standing together in the back of the tent. At the end, the minister was going down the front row, consoling each family member individually. He talked to Alli once, continued down the row, and then went back to her. I saw him looking in my our direction but still didn't think anything about it. He walked towards me and asked if I was Alli's mother. I froze. If bio mom hadn't been there, I'd have said, absolutely. I just didn't feel I could say that with her standing right beside me. Obviously, Alli had sent him to me. After an awkward pause, I said yes and he hugged me and told me he was sorry for my loss. I was instantly ashamed of myself for not telling him proudly that I was her mom. It wasn't that I was trying to deny my relationship with her I'm just still really uncomfortable with the bio mom. At times I feel her very presence negates my relationship with Alli. I can't let that keep happening. I spent TWO hours with a counselor last night trying to work through those very feelings. It's not going to be easy but I feel better after talking to her and think I'm on my way...maybe. I do know I'm feeling better that I was before talking to her.

Other bio family members tried to be nice, too, but it kind of ticked me off in the process. Separately, 3 different family members came to me and thanked me for taking care of Alli and Beth and telling me "God bless you." Why did this anger me? I wasn't sure at first but I think it's because I felt they were thanking me for taking care of MY kids. I know they meant well and I guess I can appreciate the sentiment. However, they are my kids and, of course I take care of them. No thanks needed. (I have to admit I was tempted to thank the bio dad for NOT taking care of them because that is how they ended up being mine.)